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The Newmarket Chainsaw Massacre

Yesterday (21 February) "protected" trees at 181 Beechwood Crescent (off Park Avenue in Newmarket) were clear cut and immediately removed with only the stumps remaining.

I am told the trees on the front and side of the property included a 125 year old Heritage Sugar Maple and several 75 year old beech trees. But how can they be protected when they have just been chopped down?

The photos below show (a) the Google street view of the property in 2015

and (b) the scene of the crime earlier today.

As I understand it, under the Town's planning regime, the property is big enough to be divided into two parcels for redevelopment - but the trees got in the way.

(The lot has a frontage of 39m and a lot area of 2,300 sq m. The zoning (R1-C) stipulates a minimum frontage of 18m and a minimum lot area of 743 sq m.)

The trees at the front of the property have now gone and, after the demolition of the house, the ones at the rear of the lot will, presumably, be next.

Unless someone, somewhere, does something about it.

The trees can't cry out for help.

In 2013, York Region passed a by-law

"to prohibit or regulate the destruction or injuring of trees in The Regional Municipality of York"

but we all wait to see what relevance it has to 181 Beechwood.

I am told that the treed area at the back of the lot falls within the area covered by the by-law.  

In a bitter irony, the first item on the agenda of the Town's Committee of the Whole on Monday 27 February is a PowerPoint presentation by planning staff on

"Tree Removal and Protection Policies and Regulations".

The timing is enough to make the poor old willow weep.

Included in the report's recommendations (at page 49) is one directing staff to  prepare and bring to a future Council meeting a by-law regulating and protecting significant trees on private property.

It is already too late for some.

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